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Kendo-Iaido-Jodo clubs are an access point to traditional Japanese etiquette, samurai dress, Japanese philosophy and an explosive sport that can enhance the daily life of any one who takes it up seriously.
And always remember that meditation has traditionally been the cornerstone to any good martial art.
What is Kendo
Kendo is deviation on Japanese Samurai feudal fencing, and is a way to develop sword fighting techniques without using a full metal Samurai sword (the Katana - long sword), but practice the sword fighting art with substitute representations of the sword such as Shinai and Bokken.
Shinai - "practice sword"
The Shinai is the main practice sword which consists of four lengths of bamboo held together by a long sheath which forms into a handle. The handle is pulled together and held in place by cord with a small leather cup to secure the tip of the weapon. The Shinai can be as long as 3ft 10ins.
Kendoka wear armour on top of their formal training clothes during sparring practice, the sparring garb consists of a helmet made up of a steel visor and padded cloth that protects the head throat and shoulders, a breastplate known as a do that covers the chest and held in place by cords that are fixed around the shoulders, and long thick gloves (kote) to protect the hands, wrists and forearms.
Bokken "wooden sword"
During kata training the armour is taken off to allow for more freedom of movement whilst wielding a wooden sword known as a bokken, which should have the same weight and balance as a full metal Samurai sword (Katana).
Kendoka wear formal Japanese samurai dress during a training session which consists of a hakama (divided skirt), a tare (apron to protect the groin), a keikogi (kendo jacket).
When kendoka fight each other they aim to score points from attacks to the head and body, securing a win by scoring 2 points either with a slashing or thrusting blow known as a kiri (cut).
During an attack each blow should be delivered with a kiai (yell) to score a point. The kiai has traditional implication because it is suppose to scare the opponent, give confidence to the kiai'er whilst aiding mental and physical coordination.
Kendo (way of the sword) is a form of Kenjutsu, the art of Samurai swordsmanship.
A reference to Kenjutsu first appeared around 400 AD in the Kojiki, a medieval history of Japan, with reference to the use of the bokken. Kenjutsu schools first openly started to appear around the end of the 9th century, and by the Tokugawa period (1600 - 1867) Japan could boast more than 200 Kenjutsu schools among its islands.
Styles of Kendo
Gekken is another name for kendo during the Meiji period (1868 - 1912). Practiced in higher education institutions and used by the military to infuse a sense of duty and national pride into the
Hokushin Itto Ryu:
Art of the sword kendo style.
Way of the sword kendo style.
Ken No Michi:
Way of the sword kendo style from the Tokugawa era (1600 - 1750).
Kendo Four Poisons:
Overcoming the four poisons of combat, fear, doubt, surprise and confusion. By fighting multiple opponents a student endeavors to develop calmness of mind and objectivity in combat to perceive every situation with clarity of thought.
Korean way of the sword that is almost identical to kendo.
Sword exercises practiced from 789 AD from the capital city of Nara which is commentated every year on May 5th at the boy's festival, and by a large kendo meeting in kyoto.
Nihon Kendo Kata:
Official kendo kata constructed in 1912 that is built with 12 techniques, 9 with the Odachi (long sword) and 3 with the short sword (Kodachi). The kata is the foundation of modern kendo and was create by high-ranking swordsmen of the Butokukai.
Training using the Shinai (practice sword). Developed towards the end of the Edo period in the early 1700's which was the forerunner to kendo.
Iaido is the Japanese art of drawing a sword from its scabbard, known to the Samurai as iaijutsu (sword drawing art), is called iaido if it is used as a path to enlightenment, a spritual, religious form of exercise.
Techniques of iaido:
Gunto Soho: is type of combat using Japanesese military swords which developed from Omori ryu iai (drawing the sword in a standing posture), and consists of 7 techniques to kill a man instanly on the draw of the sword.
Omori ryu iai: has 7 techniques developed in the 17th century 6 of the deadly sword drawing techniques are completed from a kneeling position (seiza), with 1 completed from a walking stance known as koranto (tiger stalking sword).
Jodo (art of the short stick or Jo) was developed from jojutsu (art of the long stick). Usually made of white oak, the stick is approximately 4ft 2ins long, and was created by Muso Gunnosuke of the Kuroda clan of Fukoda. The clan kept this fighting art a secret for hundreds of years.
Jodo was banned after the 2nd world war but was revived in the 1950s.
The art of jodo consists of 12 basic techniques that include: striking, poking, blocking, parrying, deflecting, intercepting and sweeping:
1. Normal grip strike - honte uchi
2. Reverse grip strike - gyaku uchi
3. Back blocking strike - hiki otoshi
4. Switch hand thrust - kyashi zuki
5. Reverse grip thrust - gyakute zuki
6. Wrapping drop block - maki otoshi
7. Pressing stick to the body - kure tsuke
8. Pushing stick to the body - kure hanashi
9. Body check - tai atari
10. Blocking thrust - tsuke hazushi
11. Middle body block and counter - doh harai uchi
12. Shifting block and counter - tai hazushi uchi
Students can learn up to 70 more techniques which are elaboration on the 12 basics.
There is no free sparring in jodo training, instead students practice pre-arrange sets against each other to develop skills.
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